Concert featuring 3 organs and melodian doubles crowd size in benefit for Cobblestone Museum

Photos courtesy of Maarit Vaga: Bill Lattin welcomed guests to the Pullman Memorial Universalist Church during the first stop on the progressive organ tour Sunday to benefit the Cobblestone Society and Museum.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 30 May 2024 at 7:40 am

ALBION – The fourth progressive organ concert on Sunday to benefit the Cobblestone Museum was resounding success and a pure delight, said Maarit Vaga, chair of the event.

An audience of 72 was treated to musical selections highlighting the contrasts between three organs and a melodian in three different Albion area churches – the Pullman Memorial Universalist Church, the First Presbyterian Church and the Cobblestone Church.

Scott Schmidt, organist and minister of music at the Barre Center Presbyterian Church, wove an engaging program of solo pieces and hymns, selected to demonstrate the range of each instrument, Vaga said.

“There were many opportunities for audience engagement as we sang familiar hymns, challenging ourselves to out-sing the organ and doing our best to provide four-part harmonies,” Vaga said. “The program’s interactive elements, along with Scott’s amiable approach made for a convivial afternoon of music and song.”

(Left) Organist Scott Schmidt sits at the William Johnson & Son organ in the loft of the Cobblestone Church, while concert goes fill the sanctuary. (Right) Kevin Gardner presents a short history of the Hook & Hastings organ at the First Presbyterian Church in Albion, while organist Scott Schmidt prepares to play.

The afternoon event began with a wine and cheese reception at the Pullman Church, and concluded with a scrumptious dinner at the Tavern on the Ridge, Vaga said.

“Maarit did a great job organizing the event,” said Cobblestone Museum director Doug Farley. “Our attendance was almost double what we had last year, so I am very pleased. We even had guests from as far away as Jamestown come up for the afternoon. The new Tavern on the Ridge was a pleasure to work with, and all 70-plus meals were prepared in very short order.”

Scott Schmidt demonstrated the historic melodian owned by former Cobblestone director Bill Lattin and loaned to the Cobblestone for Sunday’s Progressive Organ Concert.

Also at the Pullman Church, Bill Lattin, former Orleans County historian and director of the Cobblestone Museum, shared historical vignettes about the Pullman Church and the William Johnson & Son organ.

At the Presbyterian Church, elder Kevin Gardner presented a short history of their Hook & Hastings organ.

Farley provided a brief overview about the Cobblestone Church, saying prior to using an organ for services, the congregation sang to a melodian. On Sunday, Schmidt demonstrated the instrument loaned by Lattin, as they sang the familiar “Old Hundreth,” commonly called the “Doxology.”

Farley also described the Cobblestone’s organ, a 1904 Estey Reed organ, located in the loft of the church.

Several events are planned throughout the rest of the year, including a patriotic service at the Cobblestone Church at 11 a.m. July 7; “Back to the Garden – A Mid-summer Celebration: on July 10; a Flea Market on museum grounds July 20; Fall open house on Oct. 5; Preservation Banquet Oct. 25 at White Birch Golf Course; and “Simply Christmas” Dec. 7 at the Cobblestone Church.

Ongoing exhibits are Victorian Mourning Art, Historic Coverlets and 19th Century Orleans County Painters.

More information on any of these events can be found at or by calling (585) 589-9013.